Thursday, October 27, 2011

They're still little.

(Please join me in this blogging challenge from my friend Stephanie Howell! )

I love the baby stage.  And the toddler stage.  (I pretty much love every stage of childhood we've encountered thus far, except the potty-training stage, and thanks to hindsight, that is a short-lived season.)  

I have loved these little years.  I miss having a baby in our our family. So it's no surprise that with each passing year, I get a little misty-eyed thinking of how my babies are growing up.  I have a tendency to say "They're not little anymore."

Not too long ago, I remember taking this picture.

Autumn 2009.  Ages 2, 4, and 6.  We are at a local corn maze. 

This was the time we'd grown accustomed to having a new baby enter our lives. Odd year, October, that was our normal.  Three c-sections later, there would be no new babies.  And my heart hurt.  My babies were SO big. Not babies anymore.

My Mom reminded me once (and continues to remind me) during such conversations and reflections that they are still little.  She has much perspective and wisdom to share.

Today, when I look at that picture above, I see how little they were then. Though to me they seemed big, they were, indeed, still little.  I didn't see it then.  It took some distance and perspective.  

I am thankful for that perspective...and hope I hold onto it.

So take this sweet picture:

Autumn 2011. Ages 4, 6, 8.  Hugging each other as Nathanael opens birthday gifts.

Of course, I still say it.  They're growing up. It's true.  Faster than I'd like the time to go.  Not as little as they once were.

But still little.

I know that in two more years, there will be another picture. (Yikes, we'll hit double digits then.)  And I'll see how much they've grown and learned, and this picture above will show how little they were right now.

(And don't get me wrong, I love these ages too...the details of their personalities, finding their sense of humor, their likes and dislikes, watching them soak up knowledge, seeing the people that they are in the process of becoming. It's wonderful and amazing, and I feel privileged and blessed to live these precious years with them.)

So I've learned to take this moment right now~today~ and treasure it.  Not wish the time away or wish for the past.

So today, I've read "just one more chapter" three times.  Let playtime go a little longer before starting school.  Taken twice as long to make homemade applesauce so that six little hands could help.  Stopped working on the computer to just snuggle my littlest, freshly sleepy from an afternoon nap.  They won't always be this little, so today, I'm holding these little years, these little ones close.

Savor and relish this moment...for how grown up and how little they are at the same time.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Simply Lovely, No. 4

Hydrangeas still beautiful in the middle of October.

My Mom's garden is simply lovely too.

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 15 was a Perfect Day...

We returned last week from a trip to Asheville, NC...and while we got to spend lots of time with both of our families, the main reason for our October trip was to celebrate with my younger brother Matt as he married Amanda.

It was a beautiful day.

Picture perfect weather in one of the most beautiful places I know...and at the prettiest time of year.

This was one of my favorites I captured...taken shortly after they'd seen each other for the first time. 

I loved seeing the grin on my little brothers face.  I adore him...and am so happy for him.

And Amanda? She was stunning.

I love this one of her:

We are all so excited to officially welcome Amanda and Rylie into our family...although they've felt like family for some time now.

And a few shots from after the ceremony...the flowers were beautiful, as was the gorgeous autumn backdrop.

I love this of all the kiddos...and I heard that Madeleine pretty much looked like that as she walked down the aisle, except for her hands holding her basket of untouched petals! (And Nathanael may or may not have looked like that as he walked down the aisle too.  So thankful that Brent was in sight to "catch" the kids at the end of the aisle, as I was directing the wedding behind the scenes.)

My favorite memories of the evening of our three:

Hadleigh: "My first heels." followed by a sigh as she washed her hands after cupcakes. 

Nathanael fell in love with a foam top hat that Amanda had placed as a prop on the photobooth table.  Between that and a glowstick sword, he was a swashbuckling hero all evening.

And while I held Madeleine (with two sparklers in our hands) as Matt and Amanda made their exit, she looked like it was all a bit anti-climactic and then said, "But I want to see them go on their honeymoon."

And a peek at most of the wedding party.

The wedding colors were black and pink...with lots of handmade touches by Amanda and Mom that were just beautiful.  (Amanda might be just as obsessed with Pinterest as I am!)

The "guest book" was a hit, drawn by one of Amanda's bridesmaids!

Mom found these old window panes to use for the guest was beautiful. I love how the setting sun cast the shadow of names on the stone behind it!

I think the children at the reception enjoyed the photo booth evidenced by my masquerading princess/flower girl/daughter.

Congratulations again, Matt and Amanda! We love you!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

He's six today.


Six years of knowing that special bond between mother and son.

Six years since I spent the first week of your life praying that we'd bring you home from the NICU.

Six years since I first experienced middle-of-the-night feedings. (Your big sister...she spoiled us a bit!)


Precious years of delighting in your many expressions, of treasuring your sweet hugs and kisses, of savoring your head resting on my shoulder as you soundly slept.


Sweet years of holding that little hand in mine, of staring into those big blue eyes, of kissing those bruises and bumps that come with being all-boy.


Busy years of seeing firsthand how very different boys and girls are, of watching you delight in dirt and sticks and mud, of witnessing your curiosity about this world.


Fun years of hearing your detailed thoughts, of watching you play pretend, of listening to you quote your favorite movies and stories.

Amazing years of watching how quickly you learn, of hearing your sweet prayers as you "say the words after Daddy," of being in awe of your childlike understanding of the Word of God.


Wonderful years of listening to you sing joyfully, of watching you make close friends, of being thankful for your relationships with your sisters.

almost six

Today, I held your hand. It still fits in mine...different than years before but good.  

Today, I heard soft words from your tender heart.

Today, I watched you...and was filled with joy and gratitude that God gave you to us.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Nathanael.

I love you, birthday boy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She's four.

Oh, my little Madeleine.  How can you be four?

Just moments ago, there you were, a tiny babe in my arms...though you were almost ten pounds!

I remember feeling so relaxed with you those first few hours and days, just enjoying those early moments.

I couldn't stop looking at you, marveling at the blessing and miracle of life...your life.


You were such an easy baby.  A good eater...a good sleeper...we called you our "angel baby," and you were.

I remember loving those middle of the night was the only time of day when it was just you and me...and so I treasured those late nights, knowing they would be fleeting.  (And they slept through the night at around six weeks.)

a few months old...

Very few moments have passed in your life when someone isn't kissing those sweet cheeks.  You soaked in all the affection...and never seemed to mind the kisses and hugs a bit.  You were such a sweet tempered little baby.

I remember that first year well...for the first time as a parent not anxiously awaiting those milestones, because I knew how quickly they would quickly you would grow up.  But those milestones did arrive...and we watched each one with joy...especially when you started to walk a little after your first birthday,.  You were so pleased with yourself.

You loved being entertained by your sister and brother...and they simply adored you.


At two, it was already apparent that you had a bubbly and social personality.  You had lots to say...and I remember you were so excited about your birthday!

This was the year our house became diaperless. Whew.

You were my biggest challenge this year (in terms of homeschooling your big sister)...but all for good reason.  You always wanted to sit on my lap or show me the picture you were coloring...and weren't happy until you had my full attention.  

You loved getting to go to Bible Study...and your teachers adored you there.  They said you were the only one who answered questions during the Bible lesson. That still makes me smile.


Oh, three.  How I will treasure this past year.  You have such a sensitive are so very affectionate.  (Even if you did run out of kisses until you went to the kisses store, as you told me a few months ago.)

Your smile and that sparkle in your eyes sometimes make it tough to be your mommy and is so hard to resist them!

You have a bit of firecracker in that personality...and oh, the drama.  Your facial expressions never fail to make us giggle...and that inflection in your voice.  Oh my.


You are learning so quickly these love getting to do your school lessons and are mostly patient while your siblings do theirs.  

You love anything artistic...and ask to paint almost every day.  Thankfully, you like good ol' crayons too...and the pile of pretty pictures you make me grows constantly.

You have a sweet voice and few hours go by when I don't hear you singing...I love the way you mix up the words in "My Favorite Things."

almost four...

Last night, as I tucked my three-year old in for the last time, I asked if you were sure you had to be four.
You hugged me and patted my cheek, as if you knew I needed some comforting, and said, "Mommy, I wish I could just always be three. But I just have to grow up and turn four."

I know, sweet baby girl. I know.  

Happy Fourth Birthday, precious Madeleine. 

You are a delight to me.  You bring such joy and sweetness to our family.
You are our Ladybug and our Wiggly-Bubbles.
Our Maddie Beth.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Simply Lovely No. 3

No. 3

The juxtaposition of new life and that which has faded.

Please share with me what simple and lovely things you've found today!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

eight on the eighth

Hadleigh Caroline, every year, on the eve of your birthday, I become reflective...thinking back to that night before you were born...the anticipation...the excitement...the tiny bit of nervousness. 

And then at 8:07 pm the next day, there was you. 

A precious firstborn daughter was born. 
And because of you, a new mommy and daddy.

Though we spent countless hours in that rocking chair, nursing and singing you to sleep, I never tired of watching you sleep in my arms. Never tired of humming you lullabies to stop your little cries.

Had I been able, I might have chosen to keep you so tiny...I loved the way you fit in my arms.


But then I fell in love with your tottering first steps, your sweet kisses, the delight of hearing your giggle.

I could lose myself, looking into those big blue eyes...watching you, so curious, encounter the great big world of Texas around you.


And then, all of a sudden you were two, with pigtails...and you were an adoring big sister. 

No longer a little baby.  Ready to be a big helper.  Charming us with those little words and smiles.


And my, how that third year, your verbal skills slowly began to strengthen, and there was so much you tried to share...and so much for us to take in.

I remember this was when you stopped taking those good long naps...and it was then we coined the phrase "a nap mess"...because that's what was left in the wake of your naptime.  But it was this time that we also saw much creativity and imagination emerge.


At age four, it was quite evident that you would be a lover of all outdoor activities.  We would go to the park just so you could go "up steps, down slide".

You loved helping get diapers and toys for your new little sister.  And I remember how much you loved to go to Bible Study...even though it took a little while to feel comfortable in a new place.


Oh, I remember that fifth year well...finally settled in our new house in Oklahoma, you felt right at home in our big backyard...and the fields beyond.  

You began to really love coloring and learning...but playing with your brother (and slowly your baby sister) was still your #1 favorite thing to do.

One of my favorite memories of you this year was seeing you as a bashful flower girl for Aunt Katy's wedding.  Though too shy to walk down the aisle, you were quite in awe of the bride. I think you thought she was a princess.


And then you were a kindergartener.  I often wondered what that first official day would be like...and you loved it.  You were definitely more a fan of math than reading, but your handwriting was beautiful.  

You were so excited to write your name all by yourself.  I remember that you would practice writing your name in any medium available...sand, playdoh, blocks, sticks.  

We both learned so much from that first year of homeschool...this year, I loved seeing your forgiving spirit, your desire to do well, and your love for including your little brother in what you were doing and learning.


As you approached seven, you made your first "best" answer to one of my prayers for you.  

As a first grader, you loved math...found reading a challenge...and surprised me with your capacity for remembering details from our Bible reading.  (And you surprised me with your perfectionist tendencies. Not sure where you get that from...)

You developed a love for gymnastics...and your ability to perform in front of a crowd was a big stepping stone.

As always, your affection, sensitivity, and generosity encourage me...teach me.


And now, I see so much growth in you.  

You are a loyal friend.  You are trusting and kind.  You are sensitive to the needs of others.  You have a generous heart.

You are a second grader, and I really see much growth academically this year. You are excited about learning...and I think this year you will really take off reading.

You are rising to meet challenges that don't come easily for you...but you are brave.  And I am excited for you.

You are wanting to do what's right, even though it's not always easy or fun. You love Sunday School...and love to fellowship with the families in our church.

Your relationships with Nathanael and Madeleine bring such joy to my heart...they are your closest friends and confidants, just as they should be.

You are your Daddy's love to spend time with him...whether reading together, playing golf, or doing CrossFit, you treasure your time with him, and I love that. 

I love that you still hold my hand.  That you want to have special "Mommy-Hadleigh time". I love that you want to talk "just a little bit" when I tuck you in at night. That you want to scrapbook together.  I love that you still love to be held in my arms.

just before eight

And while there are still moments where I wish I could turn back the pages of time to hold that newborn little girl...I wouldn't trade a moment (well, maybe a few of the potty-training ones) for it has been a privilege to share all that these eight years of life have given to you and to us.

Happy Birthday, precious Hadleigh!
With each year of your life, you bring more joy, laughter, and delight to my life. You are a precious gift from God...and I treasure you. 
I am so excited to see what this year will bring. 
May the Lord bless you and keep you, this year and all your years.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Simply Lovely No. 2

No. 2

I adore the color and harvest of this season. Especially when I can bring a bit of it indoors.

What is simple and lovely in your world today?

Monday, October 03, 2011


this sounds yummy:

I'd love a slice of Garden Pizza from East Beach Village on Kiawah Island right now.  Mmmm.

More pictures from the beach coming later this week!

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